Today, we celebrate the Memorial of Mary, Mother of the Church. In March 2018, Pope Francis issued a Decree on the celebration of the feast of Mary, Mother of the Church. The Holy Father wishes to promote this devotion in order to “encourage the growth of the maternal sense of the Church in the pastors, religious and faithful, as well as a growth of genuine Marian piety”.
The decree reflects on the history of Marian theology in the Church’s liturgical tradition and the writings of the Church Fathers.
Scripture, the decree says, depicts Mary at the foot of the Cross (Jn 19:25). There she became the Mother of the Church when she “accepted her Son’s testament of love and welcomed all people in the person of the beloved disciple as sons and daughters to be reborn unto life eternal.”
In 1964, the decree says, Pope Paul VI “declared the Blessed Virgin Mary as ‘Mother of the Church, that is to say of all Christian people, the faithful as well as the pastors, who call her the most loving Mother’ and established that ‘the Mother of God should be further honored and invoked by the entire Christian people by this tenderest of titles’”.
O God, Father of mercies, whose Only Begotten Son, as he hung upon the Cross, chose the Blessed Virgin Mary, his Mother, to be our Mother also, grant, we pray, that with her loving help your Church may be more fruitful day by day and, exulting in the holiness of her children, may draw to her embrace all the families of the peoples.